Man donates 18,000 hand sanitizer products after Amazon shuts down sales

Man investigated by Tennessee attorney general for alleged price gouging

Hand sanitizer is sold out at a grocery store Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, state Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey announced in a Thursday morning news conference. The announcement came two days after deadly tornadoes went through the area, increasing the demand for sanitation supplies. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) (Mark Humphrey, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DUNLAP, Tenn. – Panic buying has been on the rise amid the global spread of the coronavirus.

Consumers around the world are stockpiling goods, including hand sanitizer, canned foods and toilet paper.

A Tennessee man bought nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, while many are still searching to even find one, spoke to WRCB-TV.

For Matt Colvin, a pandemic meant an opportunity.

After the first COVID-19 death in the United States, Colvin went state-to state, clearing out sanitizer shelves.

He now sits with 18,000 unused bottles in his home and storage unit while people in the Tennessee valley struggle to find one.

"It went from 0 to 60 really fast," Colvin said. "The bulk of it was just purchased driving around to retail stores in the Chattanooga area."

Colvin bought the sanitizer with the intention of selling them for profit on Amazon before they took his listings down and he’s now feeling the same panic as many others.

“'Oh, crap,' is the PG way of saying it,” Colvin said.

Though he would not discuss on camera the exact prices for which he sold the sanitizer, Colvin told the New York Times in a recent interview that some items were listed at $70 a bottle.

"The pricing on Amazon was definitely higher than retail," according to Colvin.

While standing in a shirt that says “Family Man,” Colvin says he never anticipated the struggle other families would go through because of a shortage.

"Sorry for buying all this stuff, no I don't think that I would," Colvin said when asked if he was sorry.

After receiving backlash online, Colvin says he’s donated them to a local church after Amazon suspended his account. He is currently being investigated by the Tennessee attorney general for alleged price gouging, according to CNN.

"With businesses there are wins and there are losses,” Calvin said. “And this is one where cutting my losses is the right thing to do."

Tennessee price gouging laws make it unlawful for individuals to charge unreasonable prices for essential goods. It’s not clear if hand sanitizer is considered one of those items.